Meljean Brooks "Here There Be Monsters" made the purchase of the whole anthology worthwhile. What an amazing new world, extremely well thought out, intricate, creative, and full of great characters. This was the best short story Ive read in a very long time. As it was the reason I even wanted to buy this anthology in the first place, Im extremely happy that I did. I am not one who usually likes short romance stories because I dont feel most authors can create a believable romance in the span of 65 or so pages. But this managed to be both epic and an intimate portrayal of love, which is not an easy thing to do. Meljean Brook has truly grown as an author (especially considering how much I disliked her first short story, "Falling For Anthony") and I cant wait to revisit this world in The Iron Duke this October.
The rest of the stories in this anthology were not huge offenders of the genre, but not particularly memorable either. I gave the overall anthology 4 stars based on the power of Brooks story alone. The rest of the stories Id individually give 2 or 3 stars.
Angela Knights "Blood and Roses" was the worst story of the bunch. She had what could have been an interesting concept but mucked it up with cardboard characters and dumb villains whose illogical motives never made sense to me. In fact with the amount of sex she managed to get into the plot, I felt the story was mostly sex with a few connecting lines that tried valiantly to make a plot of the whole thing, but ultimately failed.
This was my first introduction to Nalini Singhs Psy/Changeling series in "Whisper of Sin" but I was left underwhelmed. I just finished her Guild Hunter series, which is far more creative and has a better hook. I just couldnt get into this story despite it being well written.
Virginia Kantras "Shifting Sea" evoked some powerful and amazing imagery of the sea and I honestly felt immersed in the scenery. But nothing really happens in the story so the power of her detail and scene-setting is lost in a pretty uneventful plot.
Bottomline: I would recommend the purchase of this book purely on the power of Meljean Brooks contribution which is truly awe-inspiring and no less so for its brevity. I found myself wanting to re-read it right after Id finished it which is the mark of a keeper to me.
Good read. Multi author anthology. Whisper of Sin is a stand-alone Psy/Changeling story. Here There Be Monsters is a steampunk story related to her Iron Duke book. I believe The Shifting Sea is related to her Children of the Sea. Angela Knight's Blood and Roses seems to be a stand-alone vampire story. All of them are excellent, an anthology that does not disappoint.
*** BLOOD AND ROSES by Angela Knight pairs a vampire warrior and his seductive captor in a battle against demonic predators.
*** WHISPER OF SIN by Nalini Singh returns to the world of her Psy-Changeling series as a woman in lethal danger finds an unlikely protector -- and lover.
*** SHIFTING SEA by Virginia Kantra continues the haunting tales of the Children of the Sea in her story of a wounded soldier rescued by an enigmatic young woman.
*** HERE THERE BE MONSTERS by Meljean Brook launches a bold new steampunk series about a woman who strikes a provocative -- and terrifying -- bargain for freedom.
1. Slave to Sensation (2006)
2. Visions of Heat (2007)
3. Caressed By Ice (2007)
4. Mine to Possess (2008)
5. Hostage to Pleasure (2008)
6. Branded by Fire (2009)
7. Blaze of Memory (2009)
8. Bonds of Justice (2010)
9. Play of Passion (2010)
Hawke's Book (2011)
Children of the Sea
1. Sea Witch (2008)
1. Sea Crossing (2008) (in Shifter)
2. Sea Fever (2008)
3. Sea Lord (2009)
4. Immortal Sea (2010)
1. The Iron Duke (2010)
Coming in August 2010:
In Angela Knight's Blood and Roses, a vampire warrior and his seductive captive join forces to stop a traitor from unleashing an army of demonic predators on their kingdom.
Whisper of Sin, is new in Nalini Signh's Psy-Changling series, in which a woman in lethal danger finds an unlikely protector-and lover-in a volatile member of the Dark-River pack.
Virginia Kantra continues the haunting tales of the Children of the Sea in Shifting Sea, the story of a wounded soldier rescued by a strange and enigmatic young woman.
Meljean Brook launches a bold new steampunk series with Here there be Dragons as a desperate woman strikes a provocative-and terrifying-bargain to gain overseas passage.
I got this book as part of a reading challenge I am doing with vvb32 reads (thanks for the awesome book!). Readers of my reviews know that I am more of an urban fantasy fan than a paranormal romance (PNR) fan, but I do enjoy the occasional PNR novel. I was eager to read stories by Nalini Signh and Meljean Brook since those were two authors I have been dying to check out. The collection of stories was pretty good and widely varied.
Angela Knight's Blood and Roses was set in a fantasy setting with a creative world set-up; I enjoyed it and loved the special powers of the Blood Roses. It was a little romancy for me but the creative world definitely kept my attention.
The highlight of the book was Here There Be Monsters, a prelude story to Meljean Brook's new Iron Duke series. This was a great story and made the whole book worth reading. The world Brook has created is incredible, the characters full of depth, and some of the scenes incredibly steamy. This story packed more story than any of the other stories in this novel and didn't sacrifice creativity and action to provide romance. Overall it was a wonderful story that I really enjoyed.
Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh and Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra were more typical PNR. Both about tough men falling for beautiful women; the majority of the story focused on getting the two main characters in "bed" so to speak. Although I will say that Kantra's finfolk are interesting and I have never read about anything like them before.
A highly varied collection of stories. All more with a romance bent to them than an urban fantasy bent. I would definitely recommend urban fantasy and steampunk fans check out Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook. See below for more detail on each story.
- Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh (3/5 stars)
Supposedly this is a prelude to Singh's Psy/Changeling series. It was okay. The characters definitely have good chemistry. The story plot is just barely there and mainly used as a vehicle to provide steamy scenes. This was bit too much of your helpless female/alpha male set up for me. I am really not into that kind of thing. It was well-written though.
- Blood and Roses by Angela Knight (4/5 stars)
This was a well done fantasy story. The chemistry between the two main characters was excellent and Knight creates a story in a complex universe with complex politics. The main character is a Blood Rose whose lot in life is to fuel the desire and power of vampires. Both the Blood Rose, Amaris, and the vampire, Raniero, are very conflicted characters. There are some nice fight scenes and some very steamy scenes. I liked this story. Again it was a bit too much of a romance for me, but still well-balanced.
- Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra (3/5 stars)
Story about a soldier turned landowner who stumbles upon a beautiful woman, Morwenna, who is not quite human. Morwenna is one of the finfolk and wants to escape the ocean to try out life as a human. Basically the soldier sets out to woo Morwenna and there are complications because of her background. The story is well-written and the finfolk are unique. Not much humor or action.
- Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook (5/5 stars)
This was an absolutely wonderful story. I have never read any of Brook's books before but I want too. This was a great opportunity to be introduced to her writing and her new Iron Duke series. This is a steampunk fantasy novella and featured an incredibly creative world with a bleak tone to it. Loved that the characters had clockwork limbs grafted on and that steampunk and nano technology helped to run so much of this world. There was action in here, a wonderful world, believable characters, and great descriptions of fantastical devices. The two main characters had excellent chemistry and really tugged at your heart. There were the prerequisite steamy scenes which were tastefully done and engaging. I just really loved this story and am eager to read the Iron Duke series now.
Angela Knight (she has a proven track record). I wasn't impressed by Nalini Singh, but found Virginia Kantra and Meljean Brook new and intense story tellers. I like anthologies as it allows you to sample writers you haven't read before. I recommend this book. Three good stories out of four can't be bad.
What I'm really looking for is an exquisite storyteller who can raise above the contrived story lines of most romance novels. That is a hard to find commodity in the genre.